Everyone must show face at airports, Baird says
OTTAWA - There must be one law for all citizens, says Transport Minister John Baird in response to several stories from QMI Agency that found some passengers aren't being checked for identification before boarding their flights.
The story started with a video posted online that shows two veiled Muslim women being allowed to board a flight at Montreal's Trudeau airport without showing their faces. Since then several airport workers in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa have come forward to say this is a common occurrence.
"I'm the minister of transport, they validate my ID every the time," Baird told Ottawa radio station CFRA. "I do have one cabinet colleague that was denied entry to a plane because he forgot his valid ID at home."
The minister says there's no question it's the responsibility of the airline to check the identity of every passenger immediately prior to boarding.
"We're going to get the facts first and then we're going to take all the action necessary to make sure that the current regulations are followed and followed to the letter."
As for setting up special rooms where Muslim women can remove their veils away from other passengers, Baird dismissed the idea as unworkable.
"I have no intention of establishing special rooms at every single gate so that we can validate someone's identification," said Baird. "This is Canada, we're an open society, we're a society where men and women are treated equally."